12-30-20 Police Reminding Motorists to Drive Sober this New Year’s Eve

Hawai’i Police Department
Traffic Services Section
Torey D. Keltner
Program Manager
Phone: (808) 961-2305

Media Release

As 2020 comes to a close, the Hawai‘i Police Department continues to remind Hawai‘i Island residents not to drive while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. Throughout the month of December, officers and community groups around the island have held sign waving events along major thoroughfares to remind motorists to drive safely this holiday season.

On December 17, 2020, officers from the Hāmākua Patrol Division held two sign waving events along Highway 19, one in Laupāhoehoe with students and teachers from Laupāhoehoe Charter School and one above Honokaʻa High School with students from Honoka‘a High School.

On December 23, 2020, members of the Hawai‘i Police Department along with sheriffs from the Department of Public Safety, personnel from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and volunteers from local businesses and Neighborhood Watch groups held a sign-waving event along Highway 11 in Hilo promoting sober driving.

Shortly after that sign-waving event, Puna patrol officers responded to a traffic accident with possible injuries in Hawaiian Paradise Park. While responding to the area, officers learned the responsible vehicle fled the scene and was involved in another traffic accident with possible injuries on Highway 130 at the intersection of Shower Drive. Police arrived on scene and discovered that a total of five vehicles were involved in the accident with multiple people transported to Hilo Medical Center for evaluation for minor injuries. Police determined that inattention and alcohol were factors in both traffic accidents. 

Yet even with the knowledge and forewarning that law enforcement officers are specifically searching for impaired drivers, people continue to drive while under the influence.   

Of the 15 fatal crashes that occurred in Hawai‘i County this year, 12 of them (or 80 percent) involved impairment. That’s unacceptable. We all need to do our part and commit to not driving after consuming anything that impairs the ability to operate a vehicle in a safe manner. Any substance that slows or impedes a person’s reaction time poses a serious danger if they drive a vehicle. 

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will hold another sign-waving event on December 30, 2020, fronting the Pahoa Police Station from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Members of the Puna community are welcome to attend and participate in this event.

This New Year’s Eve remember that buzzed driving is drunk driving. Officers are prepared and on the lookout for impaired drivers. Make sure you are prepared too. Remember to wear your seatbelt, don’t drive over the speed limit, and “drive sober or get pulled over.”

If you see a vehicle that is driving erratic or appears to be operated by a driver who is under the influence, please call the Hawai‘i Police Department immediately at either 911, in an emergency, or the department’s non-emergency line at (808) 935-3311. It takes our entire community working together to have the greatest impact on making our roads safe.

The Hawaii Police Department wishes everyone a happy and safe holiday weekend.

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